Rhode Island

Students are about to return to their classrooms after a long summer break. One thing their teachers are all wondering: how much did they forget over the vacation?

Aboard a ferry off the coast of Rhode Island, state and federal officials take a close look at a steel structure poking out of the ocean. It's the first foundation affixed to the seafloor for a five-turbine wind farm off the state's coast.

It's a contrast to what's happening off the coast of Massachusetts. Developer Cape Wind has spent more than 10 years and millions of dollars there on a massive wind farm that it may never build.

Deepwater Wind has installed the first of five steel foundations for a wind farm that will sit three miles off the coast of Block Island. The project is expected to produce enough energy to power 17,000 homes. State and federal officials got an up-close look at construction for the first time yesterday. Rhode Island Public Radio environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza was with them, and she reports that Rhode Island has become an example for how to build renewable energy. 

This story is part of our series “Rising Tide” about how – or whether - Rhode Islanders are emerging from the deepest economic recession since the 1930s. The question we’re asking is: does a rising tide really lift all boats, or are some Rhode Islanders still being left behind?

The state’s first medical marijuana vapor lounge opened this weekend in Providence, but the legality of the lounge remains murky.

Elevated Vapor Lounge, located in downtown Providence opened Saturday.  Rhode Island medical marijuana patients can utilize the space to vaporize their doctor prescribed product.  And since state law bans smoking indoors, vaporizing is only thing allowed.

Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2006. Federal law continues to ban its sale.

Gina Raimondo’s long path to the top job in Rhode Island politics culminated when she was sworn in Tuesday as the state’s first female governor. Raimondo has cautioned that making change won’t be easy in a state plagued by persistently high unemployment.

Raimondo’s inaugural on the south portico of the Statehouse was steeped in tradition, from the singing of the National Anthem to the firing of a 19-gun salute.

All this week we’re taking a close look at the Narragansett Bay, for a series we call One Square Mile.  Today we look at the heavy industry that relies on the Providence waterfront.  Specifically, where those big piles of coal, scrap metal and salt,  sit along the Providence River.

Tuesday, independent Providence mayoral candidate Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, Jr. details his plan to turn the industrial waterfront to mixed use development, with things like hotels and marinas.   As Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender reports, that's been the subject of a decades-long battle.

Right now, in Rhode Island you pretty much have to go to a liquor store to stock up on beer for a dinner party. A few bills under consideration in the General Assembly aim to change that. If passed, the bills would give farmers, who grow crops for beer production, special licenses to sell their craft beers at their farms and at farmer’s markets. These bills are pitting local farmers against the local liquor industry.